Posts tagged: tts

Googlicious: News, Weather, Stocks & Dictionary for Asterisk

Let’s face it. There are certain kinds of information you just don’t want to be without. And now a treasure trove of Google content is as close as your nearest Asterisk® telephone. Thanks to Google and Lefteris Zafiris, open source Asterisk text-to-speech (TTS) and speech-to-text (STT) tools are having a banner year. We wanted to join the party and offer a free collection of new Asterisk apps in conjunction with Lefteris’ new toolkits so you can take advantage of Google’s latest news, weather, and stock feeds as well as Google’s online dictionaries. Read all about the Google XML feeds here. As with most of Google’s experimental projects, there’s no guarantee that these feeds will work next year… or even next week.

With all of these new Nerd Vittles applications, you simply say what you want and leave the driving to us. To speed up the response time, just press # after saying what you’re looking for. For the weather application, get a current weather report and forecast for almost any city in the entire world. Just say the name of the city and the state, province, or country, e.g. Paris, France or Vancouver, British Columbia, or Huntsville, Alabama. You also can say the zip code or postal code for U.S. and Canadian cities if you prefer. And you can predefine 10 zip codes or postal codes for quick searches by just saying: “Number 2.” We’ve predefined 0 through 9 for major Canadian cities to give you a head start. These can be changed in any way you like, including U.S. zip codes or even city and state (with no punctuation). And ignore the fact that the data array is named $canada. We were too lazy to change it to something more generic once we broadened the scope of the application. :roll:

But suppose you don’t want to choose a city and state or province. Instead you want to say a thorny Canadian mail code such as B2N 1X6. Well, now there’s a way to tell the software to let you do it phonetically. Just say: “phonetic bravo 2 nancy 1 xray 6” using any words that start with the same letters as the letters in the mail code.

The stock reports work in a similar way. Just say the name of the company’s ticker symbol and press #. Or you can predefine 10 companies to watch. Then quickly access the (almost) current trading price of your ten favorites by saying: “Number 9.” We’ve predefined 10 stocks to watch to get you started. Change the entries to meet your needs by editing nv-stocks-google.php in /var/lib/asterisk/agi-bin.

What we’ve learned in building STT applications is that saying individual letters is not Google’s finest hour in speech-to-text transcription. The reason is that Google built their transcription service primarily to support conversational speech and voicemail transcription, and most folks don’t spell out words. They just say them. So… if you have problems getting good results by spelling out I-B-M, try this: “letter i, letter b, letter m.” Or, better yet, just use the predefined stock option to set up your 10 favorite stocks. Then say “number 6″ whenever you want to retrieve the current trading price of Microsoft:

With the stock reports, we’ve also added the NATO phonetic alphabet to our bag of tricks. So, for I-B-M, you can simply say “India Bravo Mike” and the words will be converted to “IBM.” If it’s been a while since your soldiering days, here’s a cheat sheet for you. Actually, the code is smart enough to understand any words that begin with the same letter as any particular character in the stock symbol so long as Google understands you. For example, saying “monkey smells furry things” would return the Microsoft (MSFT) stock report. Heh.

With the news headlines, you don’t have to do anything but dial the extension number and listen to the news. The number of news stories played can be adjusted by changing the 5 in line 6 of the 951 extension of /etc/asterisk/ extensions_custom.conf.

To access the online dictionaries, you have two choices. Either use Google’s own dictionary or you can open your search up to the entire web and take advantage of a much broader selection of information including Wikipedia, the Urban Dictionary, and the Free Encyclopedia. Just dial 333 and say one of the following: “define nerd” or “web define rocket scientist.” You get the idea.

Prerequisites. There’s lots of Linux code necessary to make all of this work. Lucky for you, all of it comes preinstalled in the latest PBX in a Flash releases regardless of the flavor you’re running. You’ll also need activate at least one Google Voice account on your Asterisk server if you plan to use the dictionary application. If you’re using some other distribution, all we can suggest is that you peel our install script apart and attempt to install each piece. Linux is pretty good at telling you which dependencies are missing.

Installation. Installing these STT/TTS applications couldn’t be easier. It takes less than a minute on PBX in a Flash systems. Log into your server as root and issue the following commands:

cd /root
wget http://incrediblepbx.com/google-apps.tgz
tar zxvf google-apps.tgz
./install-google-apps

Using the STT/TTS Apps. From any telephone connected to your Asterisk server, just dial the following numbers to access the three Google STT/TTS applications:

  1. 333 – Dictionary
  2. 949 – Weather
  3. 950 – Stocks
  4. 951 – News Headlines

To meet your own needs, don’t forget to adjust the quick call entries in the weather and stocks AGI scripts. And remember to use the “letter” and “number” tricks to improve accuracy. There’s also some experimental code that you may wish to read about and take for a test drive.

Nerd’s Nugget: We’ve been wrestling with a new methodology to make it easy for folks to update Nerd Vittles apps by simply running the installer a second or third time. Today marks the beginning of this new approach. If you look at the dialplan code in extensions_custom.conf, you’ll see each TTS extension begins like this: ;# // BEGIN nv-weather-google. And the extension ends with a matching marker: ;# // END nv-weather-google. What this does is make it incredibly easy to remove the code using a single SED command:

sed -i ‘\:// BEGIN nv-weather-google:,\:// END nv-weather-google:d’ /etc/asterisk/extensions_custom.conf

We’ll post changes and additions for today’s scripts on the PIAF Forum. Join by clicking on the link below.

Originally published: Monday, May 14, 2012

Updated: Monday, May 28, 2012




Need help with Asterisk? Visit the PBX in a Flash Forum.


whos.amung.us If you’re wondering what your fellow man is reading on Nerd Vittles these days, wonder no more. Visit our new whos.amung.us statistical web site and check out what’s happening. It’s a terrific resource both for us and for you.


 
New Vitelity Special. Vitelity has generously offered a new discount for PBX in a Flash users. You now can get an almost half-price DID from our special Vitelity sign-up link. If you’re seeking the best flexibility in choosing an area code and phone number plus the lowest entry level pricing plus high quality calls, then Vitelity is the hands-down winner. Vitelity provides Tier A DID inbound service in over 3,000 rate centers throughout the US and Canada. And, when you use our special link to sign up, the Nerd Vittles and PBX in a Flash projects get a few shekels down the road while you get an incredible signup deal as well. The going rate for Vitelity’s DID service is $7.95 a month which includes up to 4,000 incoming minutes on two simultaneous channels with terminations priced at 1.45¢ per minute. Not any more! For PBX in a Flash users, here’s a deal you can’t (and shouldn’t) refuse! Sign up now, and you can purchase a Tier A DID with unlimited incoming calls for just $3.99 a month. To check availability of local numbers and tiers of service from Vitelity, click here. Do not use this link to order your DIDs, or you won’t get the special pricing! Vitelity’s rate is just 1.44¢ per minute for outbound calls in the U.S. There is a $35 prepay when you sign up. This covers future usage. And, of course, any balance is fully refundable if you decide to discontinue your service.
 


Some Recent Nerd Vittles Articles of Interest…

Siriously: It’s Wolfram Alpha for Asterisk

Ever wished your Asterisk® server could harness the power of a 10,000 CPU Supercomputer to answer virtually any question you can dream up about the world we live in? Well, so long as it's for non-commercial use, today's your lucky day. Apple demonstrated with Siri™ just how amazing this technology can be by coupling Wolfram Alpha® to a speech-to-text engine on the iPhone 4S. And, thanks to Google's new speech transcription engine and Wolfram Alpha's API, you can do much the same thing with any Asterisk server. Today, we'll show you how.1

We had such a good name for this project, Iris, which is Siri spelled backwards. You know the backwards sister and all of that. Unfortunately, the new (similar) product for Android phones was named Iris two months ago. And we didn't want to be like Larry on Newhart with two brothers named Darryl. So... we give you 4747. You can figure it out from there.

When people ask what exactly Wolfram Alpha is, our favorite answer was provided by Ed Borasky.

It's an almanac driven by a supercomputer.

That's an understatement. It's a bit like calling Google Search a topic index. Unlike Google which provides links to web sites that can provide answers to queries, Wolfram Alpha provides specific and detailed answers to almost any question. Here are a few examples (with descriptions of the functionality) to help you wrap your head around the breadth of information. For a complete list of what's available, visit Wolfram Alpha's Examples by Topic. Type a sample query here. Or call our demo line2 (1-904-339-8254 or iNum: 883510009043155) and say:

Weather in Charleston South Carolina
Weather forecast for Washington D.C.
Next solar eclipse
Otis Redding
Define politician
Who won the 1969 Superbowl? (Broadway Joe)
What planes are overhead? (flying over your server's location)
Ham and cheese sandwich (nutritional information)
Holidays 2012 (summary of all holidays for 2012 with dates and DOW)
Medical University of South Carolina (history of MUSC)
Star Trek (show history, air dates, number of episodes, and more)
Apollo 11 (everything you ever wanted to know)
Cheapest Toaster (brand and price)
Battle of Gettysburg (sad day :-) )
Daylight Savings Time 2012 (date ranges and how to set your clocks)
Tablets by Motorola (pricing, models, and specs from Best Buy)
Doughnut (you don't wanna know)
Snickers bar (ditto)
Weather (local weather at your server's location)

Best Question of the Day Award: "How much wood could a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?" And the answer: "A woodchuck would chuck all the wood he could chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood. According to the tongue twister, although the paper 'The Ability of Woodchucks to Chuck Cellulose Fibers' by P.A. Paskevich and T.B. Shea in Annals of Improbable Research vol. 1, no. 4, pp. 4-9, July/August 1995, concluded that a woodchuck can chuck 361.9237001 cubic centimeters of wood per day."

Implementation Overview. Today what we're going to demonstrate is how to configure your Asterisk server so that you can pick up any phone on your system, dial 4-7-4-7, speak a question, and we'll show you how to send it to Google to convert your spoken words into text. Then we'll pass that text translation to Wolfram Alpha which will provide a plain text answer to your question. Finally, we'll take that plain text and use Flite or Cepstral to deliver the results to you.

For openers, you'll need a free Wolfram Alpha account. We'll be using PBX in a Flash 2.0.6.2.1™ to demonstrate the setup because its reliance on CentOS 6.2 provides the most complete collection of Linux utilities available. And, of course, you get unlimited, free calling within the U.S. and Canada with Google Voice as part of any PBX in a Flash install. It's certainly possible to do what we're demonstrating on other Asterisk server platforms once you get all of the dependencies resolved. But we'll leave that for the pioneers.

Using PIAF2™, you'll need to download a new AGI script to take advantage of Google's speech transcription engine. No registration is (yet) required. Then we'll provide a simple piece of dialplan code to handle the phone conversation. Finally, we'll provide a couple of AGI scripts to tame the Wolfram Alpha interface for you. Plug in your Wolfram Alpha APP-ID, and you'll be off to the races. It's about a 15-minute project using an existing PIAF2 server. So let's get started.

Legal Disclaimer. What we're demonstrating today is how to use two publicly accessible web resources to harness the power of a supercomputer to respond to your queries using a phone connected to an Asterisk server. We're assuming that both Google and Wolfram Alpha have their legal bases covered and have a right to provide the public services they are offering. We are not vouching for them or the services they are offering in any way. By using our scripts, YOU AGREE TO ASSUME ALL RISKS, LEGAL AND OTHERWISE, ASSOCIATED WITH USE OF THESE FREELY ACCESSIBLE WEB TOOLS. NO WARRANTY EXPRESS OR IMPLIED IS BEING PROVIDED BY US INCLUDING ANY IMPLIED WARRANTY OF FITNESS FOR USE OR MERCHANTABILITY. You, of course, have an absolute right not to use our code if you have reservations of any kind or are unwilling to assume all risks associated with such use. Sorry for legalese, but it's the time in which we live I'm afraid. Plain English: "Don't Shoot the Messenger!"

Getting a Wolfram Alpha Account. As you can imagine, there have to be some rules when you're using someone else's supercomputer for free. So here's the deal. It's free for non-commercial, personal use once you sign up for an account. But you're limited to 2,000 queries a month which works out to almost 70 queries a day. Every query requires your personal application ID, and that's how Wolfram Alpha keeps track of your queries. Considering the price, we think you'll find the query limitation pretty generous compared to other web resources.

To get started, sign up for a free Wolfram Alpha API account. Just provide your email address and set up a password. It takes less than a minute. Log into your account and click on Get An App ID. Make up a name for your application and write down (and keep secret) your APP-ID code. That's all there is to getting set up with Wolfram Alpha. If you want to explore costs for commercial use, there are links to let you get more information.

One-Click Installer. If you don't care about how things work, you can skip all of the steps below and use the new one-click installer. Or you can keep reading to see what's going on. Here are the steps to use the one-click installer. Log into your server as root and issue the following commands:

cd /root
wget http://nerd.bz/xhUpJr
chmod +x wolframalpha-oneclick.sh
./wolframalpha-oneclick.sh

You now can skip the next four sections and dial 4-7-4-7 to try things out.

Installing the Google Transcription AGI Script. Log into your PIAF2 server as root and issue the following commands to download and install Lefteris Zaferis' AGI script from GitHub. It's a terrific piece of code!

cd /root
wget --no-check-certificate http://nerd.bz/w8HCDF
tar zxvf asterisk-speech*
cd asterisk-speech-recog-0.4
cp speech-recog.agi /var/lib/asterisk/agi-bin/.

If you prefer living on the Bleeding Edge, you can download Lefteris' very latest (untested by us!) release3:

cd /root
wget --no-check-certificate http://nerd.bz/zA4fCB
tar zxvf asterisk-speech*
cd asterisk-speech-recog-0.5
cp speech-recog.agi /var/lib/asterisk/agi-bin/.

Installing the Wolfram Alpha Scripts. Now log into your PIAF2 server as root using SSH and issue the following commands to install the Wolfram Alpha transportation layer:

cd /
wget http://nerd.bz/A7umMK
tar zxvf 4747.tgz
cd /tmp
cat 4747.txt

Adding the Asterisk Dialplan Module. What is displayed on your screen at the end of the steps above will be the dialplan code that needs to be added to extensions_custom.conf in the /etc/asterisk directory. Just cut-and-paste the code and drop it into the [from-internal-custom] context. If you use nano, be sure to open the file with nano -w extensions_custom.conf to avoid problems with long lines being truncated. You'll notice that there are commented lines 3, 6, 16, and 17 to support Cepstral. If you use this commercial TTS app which now can be installed in PIAF2 with install-cepstral, then you can comment out the Flite entries and uncomment the Swift (Cepstral) entries in the dialplan code. Here's the SED alternative rather than manually updating the file with cut-and-paste:

cd /etc/asterisk
cp /tmp/4747.txt .
sed -i '/\[from-internal-custom\]/r 4747.txt' extensions_custom.conf
asterisk -rx "dialplan reload"

If you manually edit, don't forget: asterisk -rx "dialplan reload".

Adding Wolfram Alpha APP-ID. The final configuration step is adding your Wolfram Alpha APP-ID credentials. Issue the following commands to access the AGI script:

cd /var/lib/asterisk/agi-bin
nano -w 4747

When the file opens, replace yourID between the quotes with the APP-ID that was provided to you on the Wolfram Alpha web site. Then save the file: Ctrl-X, Y, then Enter. You're done!

Tweaking the Abbreviations List. Translating abbreviations into speech is a tricky business, and Flite and Cepstral do a pretty lousy job on some of them. We've started the beginnings of an abbreviation list which you will find in the function section of 4747.php which is stored in /var/lib/asterisk/agi-bin. It's easy to add additional entries. Just clone one of the entries that's already there. For example, here's the line that translates Jr. into Junior. HINT: Be careful to surround most unpunctuated abbreviations with spaces, or you may get unexpected results when a word actually begins or ends with the same letters.

$response = str_replace("Jr.","junior",$response);

Taking Wolfram Alpha for a Spin. Some sample commands have been documented above to get you started. Just pick up a phone on your PIAF2 server and dial 4747. When prompted, say one of the commands and press the pound key. Your command will be sent to Google for translation, and then the text result will be played back using Flite or Cepstral. If it says what you meant to say, press 1 to launch the Wolfram Alpha connection and get the answer to your question. If not, press * and try again.

You also can watch the progress of your calls on the Asterisk CLI. We've found the Google speech-to-text transcription to be extremely accurate in quiet rooms. One of the variables returned in the [4747@from-internal:5] entry on the Asterisk CLI includes a transcription accuracy measurement which is shown as a decimal number less than 1. This gives you an idea of how well Google is understanding your accent. If the number consistently falls below .9, you may want to move out of the Deep South for a bit. :wink:

Originally published: Monday, January 16, 2012




Need help with Asterisk? Visit the PBX in a Flash Forum.
Or Try the New, Free PBX in a Flash Conference Bridge.


whos.amung.us If you're wondering what your fellow man is reading on Nerd Vittles these days, wonder no more. Visit our new whos.amung.us statistical web site and check out what's happening. It's a terrific resource both for us and for you.


 
New Vitelity Special. Vitelity has generously offered a new discount for PBX in a Flash users. You now can get an almost half-price DID and 60 free minutes from our special Vitelity sign-up link. If you're seeking the best flexibility in choosing an area code and phone number plus the lowest entry level pricing plus high quality calls, then Vitelity is the hands-down winner. Vitelity provides Tier A DID inbound service in over 3,000 rate centers throughout the US and Canada. And, when you use our special link to sign up, the Nerd Vittles and PBX in a Flash projects get a few shekels down the road while you get an incredible signup deal as well. The going rate for Vitelity's DID service is $7.95 a month which includes up to 4,000 incoming minutes on two simultaneous channels with terminations priced at 1.45¢ per minute. Not any more! For PBX in a Flash users, here's a deal you can't (and shouldn't) refuse! Sign up now, and you can purchase a Tier A DID with unlimited incoming calls for just $3.99 a month and you get a free hour of outbound calling to test out their call quality. To check availability of local numbers and tiers of service from Vitelity, click here. Do not use this link to order your DIDs, or you won't get the special pricing! After the free hour of outbound calling, Vitelity's rate is just 1.44¢ per minute for outbound calls in the U.S. There is a $35 prepay when you sign up. This covers future usage and any balance is fully refundable if you decide to discontinue service with Vitelity.
 


Some Recent Nerd Vittles Articles of Interest...

  1. We want to extend a special welcome to our Hack A Day and Reddit visitors. We have new tips and tricks on VoIP technology every week. And almost half of our traffic is from returning visitors. We hope you'll join the club. Thanks for visiting. []
  2. Because of a few "special people" we've had to limit calls to one per person. You still can beat the system by calling back from a different phone. :wink: For those that are curious, this demo line is supported by Google Voice so you can check out the call quality for yourself. We alternate hosting the trunk on either an Aspire Revo or one of 10 PBX in a Flash servers running as virtual machines under Proxmox on a $500 Dell PowerEdge T310 server behind a secure, hardware-based firewall with no Internet port exposure and no ports forwarded from the firewall to the server. Dell servers go on sale about once every couple of weeks. []
  3. Version 0.5 also includes some sample Wolfram Alpha perl code that is certainly worth a look. []

Home Run: Asterisk Baseball Scores & Schedules with Gtalk

Last week we introduced the new Worldwide Weather Station for Asterisk® 1.8 using Google's new Google Talk Guru. And, as promised, today we bring you the first of several new Asterisk applications to retrieve sports scores and schedules from the convenience of your telephone. With Google Talk Guru, you can retrieve the latest Atlanta Braves info by issuing this Chat command: score braves. What you'll receive in reply using Google Chat within Gmail would look something like this:

Baseball:
Atlanta Braves 2 - Milwaukee Brewers 1
Next game: @ Milwaukee Brewers, 6 Apr 3:10am
mlb.mlb.com

With today's installation, you'll also be able to dial M-L-B (652) from any Asterisk extension and retrieve the latest score and next game schedule for any one of 10 Major League Baseball teams by pressing a single button. For example, to retrieve the latest Atlanta Braves score and next game schedule, press 2. To try out our demo, just dial 425-406-4532 from any phone in the U.S. Here's the entire list which you can modify to meet your own requirements:

0 - Yankees
1 - Mets
2 - Braves
3 - Reds
4 - Marlins
5 - Orioles
6 - Pirates
7 - Royals
8 - Dodgers
9 - White Sox

As was true with weather forecasts, retrieval of baseball scores and schedules using Google Talk Guru takes less than a second for almost any team. And, in addition to playing these scores and schedules over the phone using Asterisk 1.8, we've added the ability to also forward the results to your favorite email address. If you're already familiar with last week's installation procedure, then drop down to the Quick Installation topic. The whole drill should take you no more than a couple minutes. If you're new to all of this, keep reading.

How It Works. Here's a quick summary of how all this works. With the Google Talk Guru, you can send a query as a text message to guru@googlelabs.com. You then get a reply message in Google Talk with the answer to your query. What we've done is add this querying functionality to your Asterisk dialplan with some preassigned baseball teams to obtain the latest sports scores and schedules. Once the response arrives, we've added a PHP application that puts the text (as shown above) into something that's a little more TTS friendly for Flite and Cepstral. If you're curious about how to do all of this, take a look at the dialplan and PHP code in the links below. It's not hard, but it is tedious. One little typo and nothing works. Ask us how we know. :wink:

Prerequisites. If you're new to all of this, here's a quick list of what you'll need. First, you'll need a PBX in a Flash server running the very latest Asterisk 1.8. We call it PIAF-Purple. Bidirectional Google chatting only works in the most recent releases of Asterisk 1.8 so, no, you can't wing it with an earlier release and expect a working system. Next you'll need to add Google Voice and Chat support. You can install these components yourself, or you can use Incredible PBX 1.8. The latest release as of today has this application preinstalled. If you dial 652 from an extension on your Incredible PBX and are prompted to choose a team for the latest score and schedule after hearing a list of the available teams, then your installation is complete even though it won't work until you invite yourself to chat with guru@googlelabs.com using the same Gmail account you're using for Google Voice on your Asterisk server. If dialing 652 doesn't work, then you'll need to add this application to your existing Incredible PBX 1.8 installation by following the simple steps below in addition to enabling chats with guru@googlelabs.com. Almost any other (current) Asterisk 1.8 server should work as well so long as you've installed FreePBX, PHP and the Flite or Cepstral voice synthesizer. But then you're on your own. If you're a nuts-and-bolts Asterisk guy, then you should be able to decipher what needs to be done by reading through this tutorial.

Quick Installation. Assuming you have all the prerequisites in place, today's installation is about a five minute chore. There are 3 easy steps:

(1) While signed in to Gmail with the same account credentials being used for Google Voice on your Asterisk server, activate chat temporarily and invite yourself to chat with guru@googlelabs.com. Run a test query using the Braves example above. IMPORTANT: Once it works, disable chat on your desktop, or Google Voice and Chat will no longer work with Asterisk!

(2) Download the Baseball Scores & Schedules application into the agi-bin directory on your Asterisk system. Here are the commands after logging into your server as root:

cd /var/lib/asterisk/agi-bin
wget http://nerd.bz/eimkfZ
tar zxvf nv-mlb-google.tgz

(3) While still logged in as root, switch to the /etc/asterisk directory and edit extensions_custom.conf with this command:

nano -w extensions_custom.conf

Search for 652 and delete any existing lines with that extension. Then cut-and-paste the following code inserting it just below the [from-internal-custom] context marker (but above any other context marker) or in the existing position if you deleted existing 652 lines. Use nano -w extensions_custom.conf to open the file, or word wrap will delete part of the cut-and-paste code! Once you've saved your changes, reload your Asterisk dialplan:

asterisk -rx "dialplan reload"

Customization. By default, the application is set to use Flite as the text-to-speech (TTS) engine. If you have installed Cepstral, you can change to Cepstral. In the /var/lib/asterisk/agi-bin directory, edit nv-mlb-google.php and change $ttspick = 0 to $ttspick = 1. Do not delete the trailing semicolon! If you want the sports scores and schedules also emailed to you when you dial them up, then insert your actual email address in the $email variable and set $emailscore = 1.

You need not use the 10 teams that are preconfigured in the application. You can choose your own. First, write down the names of the 10 teams you wish to use. Do NOT use city names! Make a backup of extensions_custom.conf: cp extensions_custom.conf ext_custom.bak. Then carefully edit /etc/asterisk/extensions_custom.conf using nano -w filename. Move down to the 652,3 and 652,5 lines and make the necessary changes using the teams you have chosen. Finally, move down to 652,50 and replace Yankees with your 0 choice, 612,52 Mets with your 1 choice, etc. Save your changes and reload your dialplan. NOTE: For multi-word teams such as White Sox, be sure to use an underscore between the words, NOT A SPACE, e.g. white_sox.

If you want to retrieve scores and schedules for more than 10 teams, the easiest solution is to clone all of the 652 dialplan code and renumber each occurrence of 652 to 653. HINT: Some 652 entries are actually embedded in the code as well as in the extension numbers. Be sure to renumber those entries as well. Use Ctrl-W to find each 652 occurrence in the new context, and you won't inadvertently miss one. That gets you 10 more teams. Repeat as desired. Note also that you need not announce 10 teams in the voice prompt unless you want to. If you only plan to follow 3 teams, then alter the initial voice prompt to only announce those teams. You do NOT need to delete the dialplan code that actually picks other teams. No one will ever know. :wink:

Adding a Miscellaneous Destination. This step is optional. Access FreePBX with your browser, and choose Setup, Misc Destination. If it's not already there, add a new entry for MLBScores with 652 as the Dial entry. Save your entry and then click the Red Bar to reload Asterisk.

Taking Baseball Scores and Schedules for a Spin. Now we should be all set. Just pick up an extension on your system and dial 652. You'll be prompted to enter a one-digit code. Punch in 5 and check out the latest score and next game for the Baltimore Orioles. Enjoy!

Housekeeping 101. Temporary files in /tmp get cleaned up by Linux housekeeping automatically. Temporary files stored elsewhere don't unless you're using Incredible PBX. The weather scripts store .wav files with your requested weather forecasts in /var/lib/asterisk/sounds/tts. So, from time to time, make a mental note to remove all of these files with a command like this:

rm -f /var/lib/asterisk/sounds/tts/tts*

Or just log into your Asterisk® server as root and edit the following file: nano -w /etc/crontab. Move to the bottom of the file and insert the following code on a blank line:

01 0 * * * root rm -f /var/lib/asterisk/sounds/tts/tts* > /dev/null

This code will delete all of the TTS files in the tts folder every night. Now save your changes: Ctrl-X, Y, then Enter.

Best of Nerd Vittles Link. This application also will be available on our Best of Nerd Vittles site shortly. Enjoy!

Originally published: Monday, April 11, 2011


Need help with Asterisk? Visit the PBX in a Flash Forum or Wiki.
Or Try the New, Free PBX in a Flash Conference Bridge.


whos.amung.us If you're wondering what your fellow man is reading on Nerd Vittles these days, wonder no more. Visit our new whos.amung.us statistical web site and check out what's happening. It's a terrific resource both for us and for you.


 
New Vitelity Special. Vitelity has generously offered a new discount for PBX in a Flash users. You now can get an almost half-price DID and 60 free minutes from our special Vitelity sign-up link. If you're seeking the best flexibility in choosing an area code and phone number plus the lowest entry level pricing plus high quality calls, then Vitelity is the hands-down winner. Vitelity provides Tier A DID inbound service in over 3,000 rate centers throughout the US and Canada. And, when you use our special link to sign up, the Nerd Vittles and PBX in a Flash projects get a few shekels down the road while you get an incredible signup deal as well. The going rate for Vitelity's DID service is $7.95 a month which includes up to 4,000 incoming minutes on two simultaneous channels with terminations priced at 1.45¢ per minute. Not any more! For PBX in a Flash users, here's a deal you can't (and shouldn't) refuse! Sign up now, and you can purchase a Tier A DID with unlimited incoming calls for just $3.99 a month and you get a free hour of outbound calling to test out their call quality. To check availability of local numbers and tiers of service from Vitelity, click here. Do not use this link to order your DIDs, or you won't get the special pricing! After the free hour of outbound calling, Vitelity's rate is just 1.44¢ per minute for outbound calls in the U.S. There is a $35 prepay when you sign up. This covers future usage and any balance is fully refundable if you decide to discontinue service with Vitelity.
 


Some Recent Nerd Vittles Articles of Interest...

Worldwide Weather Forecasts with Asterisk and Google Talk

Wouldn't it be nice if you could just describe your product and folks would know what you meant? Well, thanks to the lawyers, you can't. So, for all sorts of legal reasons, today's new product will not be called the Asterisk® Weather Station: Whole Earth Edition. Nor will it be called the Google® Weather Station even though we'll be using Google Lab's new Google Talk Guru. We've now written so many weather applications for Asterisk that we're thinking of changing our name to Willard Scott. Ooops! Can't do that either. And, yes, we used to have a Worldwide Weather application for Asterisk, but it died when Channel4.com discontinued providing weather data. The good news is that this forced us to take a look at Google's new Google Talk Guru which is nothing short of incredible. Weather reports are just the tip of the iceberg. We'll have an app to retrieve your favorite sports scores soon. To retrieve the latest Atlanta Braves info, just issue the Chat command: score braves. Here's the answer:

Baseball:
Atlanta Braves 2 - Milwaukee Brewers 1
Next game: @ Milwaukee Brewers, 6 Apr 3:10am
mlb.mlb.com

To give you some idea of performance, retrieval of a weather forecast using the Google Talk Guru takes less than a second for almost any location in the world. In addition to playing these forecasts over the phone using Asterisk 1.8, we've also added the ability to retrieve a forecast by phone and forward it on to your email address. Here's the result from weather paris:

Weather:
Paris, France
13°C, Clear
Wind: W 8 km/h
Hum: 53%
Mon: 6°C-14°C, Partly Cloudy
Tue: 7°C-18°C, Partly Cloudy
Wed: 8°C-23°C, Partly Cloudy

HINT: If you prefer zip codes or international postal codes, those all seem to return good results as well. We've tested U.S., Canada, and U.K. codes with no problems. Mexico, unfortunately, uses 5-digit codes just like the U.S. so those don't work. Now if we could just get rid of centigrade and kilometers for the metrically challenged, it would be almost perfect.

How It Works. Here's a quick summary of how all this works. With the Google Talk Guru, you can send a query as a text message to guru@googlelabs.com. You then get a reply message in Google Talk with the answer to your query. What we've done is add this querying functionality to your Asterisk dialplan with some preassigned cities to obtain weather forecasts. You can change them in any way you like. Once the response arrives, we've got a PHP application that puts the text (as shown above) into something that's a little more TTS friendly for Flite and Cepstral. Finally, we've added the option to email you the results as well as speaking them over the phone. If you're curious about how to do all of this, take a look at the dialplan and PHP code in the links below. It's not hard, but it is tedious. One little typo and nothing works. Ask us how we know. :wink:

Prerequisites. If you've previously installed one of the Nerd Vittles Weather Applications or if you're using an older version of Incredible PBX 1.8 that doesn't include this app out of the box, then today's installation drill shouldn't take you more than 5 or 10 minutes. If you're new to all of this, then here's a quick list of what you'll need. First, you'll need a PBX in a Flash server running the very latest Asterisk 1.8. We call it PIAF-Purple. Bidirectional Google chatting only works in the most recent releases of Asterisk 1.8 so, no, you can't wing it with an earlier release and expect a working system. Next you'll need to add Google Voice and Chat support. You can install these components yourself, or you can use Incredible PBX 1.8. The latest release as of today has this application preinstalled. If you dial 612 from an extension on your Incredible PBX and are prompted to choose a city for your weather report after hearing a list of cities, then your installation is complete even though it won't work until you invite yourself to chat with guru@googlelabs.com using the same Gmail account you're using for Google Voice on your Asterisk server. If dialing 612 doesn't work or merely prompts for a number, you'll need to add this application to your existing Incredible PBX 1.8 installation by following the simple steps below in addition to enabling chats with guru@googlelabs.com. Almost any other (current) Asterisk 1.8 server should work as well so long as you've installed FreePBX, PHP and the Flite or Cepstral voice synthesizer. But then you're on your own. If you're a nuts-and-bolts Asterisk guy, then you should be able to decipher what needs to be done by reading through this tutorial.

Quick Installation. Assuming you have all the prerequisites in place, today's installation is about a five minute chore. There are 3 easy steps:

(1) While signed in to Gmail with the same account credentials being used for Google Voice on your Asterisk server, activate chat temporarily and invite yourself to chat with guru@googlelabs.com. Run a test query using one of the examples above. IMPORTANT: Once it works, disable chat on your desktop, or Google Voice and Chat will no longer work with Asterisk!

(2) Download the Google Worldwide Weather application into the agi-bin directory on your Asterisk system. Here are the commands after logging into your server as root:

cd /var/lib/asterisk/agi-bin
wget http://nerd.bz/fCcdOP
tar zxvf nv-weather-google.tgz

(3) While still logged in as root, switch to the /etc/asterisk directory and edit extensions_custom.conf with this command:

nano -w extensions_custom.conf

Search for 612 and delete any existing lines with that extension. Then cut-and-paste the following code inserting it below the [from-internal-custom] context marker (but above any other context marker) or in the existing position if you deleted existing 612 lines. Use nano -w extensions_custom.conf to open the file, or word wrap will delete part of the cut-and-paste code! Once you've saved your changes, reload your Asterisk dialplan:

asterisk -rx "dialplan reload"

Customization. By default, the application is set to use Flite as the text-to-speech (TTS) engine. If you have installed Cepstral, you can change the app to Cepstral quickly. In the /var/lib/asterisk/agi-bin directory, edit nv-weather-google.php and change $ttspick = 0 to $ttspick = 1. Do not delete the trailing semicolon! If you want the weather reports also emailed to you when you dial them up, then insert your actual email address in the $email variable and set $emailforecast = 1.

Worldwide Weather Forecasts for Asterisk is preconfigured for the following cities:

0 - Tokyo
1 - Washington
2 - Berlin
3 - Paris
4 - Honolulu
5 - London
6 - Moscow
7 - Sydney
8 - Toronto
9 - Zurich

You need not use the 10 cities that are preconfigured in the application. You can choose your own. First, write down the names of the 10 cities you wish to use. Do NOT add states or countries! Make a backup of extensions_custom.conf: cp extensions_custom.conf ext_custom.bak. Then carefully edit /etc/asterisk/extensions_custom.conf using nano -w filename. Move down to the 612,3 and 612,5 lines and make the necessary changes using the city names you have chosen. Finally, move down to 612,50 and replace Tokyo with your 0 choice, 612,52 with your 1 choice, etc. Save your changes and reload your dialplan. NOTE: For multi-word cities such as New York and San Diego, be sure to use an underscore between the words, NOT A SPACE, e.g. new_york.

If you want to retrieve weather forecasts for more than 10 cities, the easiest solution is to clone all of the 612 dialplan code and renumber each occurrence of 612 to 613. HINT: Some 612 entries are actually embedded in the code as well as in the extension numbers. Be sure to renumber those entries as well. Use Ctrl-W to find each 612 occurrence in the new context, and you won't inadvertently miss one. That gets you 10 more cities. Repeat as desired. Note also that you need not announce 10 cities in the voice prompt unless you want to. If you only plan to use 3 cities, then alter the initial voice prompt to only announce those cities. You do NOT need to delete the dialplan code that actually picks other cities.

Adding a Miscellaneous Destination. Access FreePBX with your browser, and choose Setup, Misc Destination. If it's not already there, add a new entry for WorldWideWeather with 612 as the Dial entry. Save your entry and then click the Red Bar to reload Asterisk.

Taking the WorldWide Weather Forecaster for a Spin. Now we should be all set. Just pick up an extension on your system and dial 612. You'll be prompted to enter a one-digit code. Punch in 5 and check out the weather forecast for good old London. Enjoy!

Housekeeping 101. Temporary files in /tmp get cleaned up by Linux housekeeping automatically. Temporary files stored elsewhere don't unless you're using Incredible PBX. The weather scripts store .wav files with your requested weather forecasts in /var/lib/asterisk/sounds/tts. So, from time to time, make a mental note to remove all of these files with a command like this:

rm -f /var/lib/asterisk/sounds/tts/tts*

Or just log into your Asterisk server as root and edit the following file: nano -w /etc/crontab. Move to the bottom of the file and insert the following code on a blank line:

01 0 * * * root rm -f /var/lib/asterisk/sounds/tts/tts* > /dev/null

This code will delete all of the TTS files in the tts folder every night. Now save your changes: Ctrl-X, Y, then Enter.

Best of Nerd Vittles Link. This application also will be available on our Best of Nerd Vittles site shortly. Enjoy!

Originally published: Tuesday, April 5, 2011


Need help with Asterisk? Visit the PBX in a Flash Forum or Wiki.
Or Try the New, Free PBX in a Flash Conference Bridge.


whos.amung.us If you're wondering what your fellow man is reading on Nerd Vittles these days, wonder no more. Visit our new whos.amung.us statistical web site and check out what's happening. It's a terrific resource both for us and for you.


 
New Vitelity Special. Vitelity has generously offered a new discount for PBX in a Flash users. You now can get an almost half-price DID and 60 free minutes from our special Vitelity sign-up link. If you're seeking the best flexibility in choosing an area code and phone number plus the lowest entry level pricing plus high quality calls, then Vitelity is the hands-down winner. Vitelity provides Tier A DID inbound service in over 3,000 rate centers throughout the US and Canada. And, when you use our special link to sign up, the Nerd Vittles and PBX in a Flash projects get a few shekels down the road while you get an incredible signup deal as well. The going rate for Vitelity's DID service is $7.95 a month which includes up to 4,000 incoming minutes on two simultaneous channels with terminations priced at 1.45¢ per minute. Not any more! For PBX in a Flash users, here's a deal you can't (and shouldn't) refuse! Sign up now, and you can purchase a Tier A DID with unlimited incoming calls for just $3.99 a month and you get a free hour of outbound calling to test out their call quality. To check availability of local numbers and tiers of service from Vitelity, click here. Do not use this link to order your DIDs, or you won't get the special pricing! After the free hour of outbound calling, Vitelity's rate is just 1.44¢ per minute for outbound calls in the U.S. There is a $35 prepay when you sign up. This covers future usage and any balance is fully refundable if you decide to discontinue service with Vitelity.
 


Some Recent Nerd Vittles Articles of Interest...

Asterisk TTS: Introducing Today in History

If you're a history buff and want a convenient way to find out everything that ever happened Today in History, then this week's text to speech (TTS) application for Asterisk® should be just what you need. Pick up any phone connected to your Asterisk system and dial T-O-D-A-Y (86329 for the spelling-impaired). The script will retrieve today's historical events and today's birthdays of interest from Yahoo News and play the results back to you over the phone using either Flite or Cepstral to handle the TTS translation. To speed up the retrieval process, you can also set this up as a cron job to download the latest events each day while you're sleeping. Thereafter, when you dial T-O-D-A-Y, the results are played back for callers instantaneously.

Prerequisites. If you're using PBX in a Flash, then all of the tools you'll need are already in place. And we have a script for you that will install the application in just a few seconds. For other users, you'll need an Asterisk server with PHP5 and either Flite or Cepstral to handle the text-to-speech chores.

Overview. If you've previously installed other Nerd Vittles text to speech applications, then the drill this time around is quite similar. There's a PHP/AGI script which gets stored in /var/lib/asterisk/agi-bin. In this script (nv-today.php), you can change the default Flite TTS engine to Cepstral by changing the $ttspick variable setting from 0 to 1. Then there is a snippet of dialplan code that needs to be added to the [from-internal-custom] context in extensions_custom.conf for FreePBX installations. Once you reload your Asterisk dialplan, you're ready to go.

How It Works. The PHP/AGI script only does real work once a day. It always checks to see if there is an existing /tmp/today.txt file with today's file stamp. If there is, it exits gracefully. If today's file doesn't exist or if the file's time stamp is earlier than midnight, then the script downloads the latest information for today in history and creates a text file of the data. Then either the Flite or Cepstral TTS engine is called to convert the text file into /tmp/today.wav. The dial plan code is used to answer calls to extension 86329. Then it runs the PHP/AGI script, and finally it plays back /tmp/today.wav. Note: The PHP/AGI script, if run as a cron job or from the command prompt, should never be run as the root user, but only as the asterisk user. Otherwise, the today.txt and today.wav files cannot be replaced by the script when it subsequently is run from the dialplan.

Script Installation. If you're using PBX in a Flash, log into your server as root and issue the following commands:

cd /root
wget http://bestof.nerdvittles.com/applications/today/today.pbx
chmod +x today.pbx
./today.pbx

Automatic Updates Using crontab. If you'd like to automatically generate the Today in History files each day, add the following entry to the bottom of /etc/crontab:

01 0 * * * asterisk /var/lib/asterisk/agi-bin/nv-today.php

Manual Installation. For those using a different Asterisk aggregation that includes PHP5, FreePBX, and Flite, add this code to /etc/asterisk/extensions_custom.conf in the [from-internal-custom] context:

exten => 86329,1,Answer
exten => 86329,2,Wait(1)
exten => 86329,3,Set(TIMEOUT(digit)=7)
exten => 86329,4,Set(TIMEOUT(response)=10)
exten => 86329,5,Flite(Please stand bye while we retrieve: Today in History.)
exten => 86329,6,AGI(nv-today.php)
exten => 86329,7,Playback(/tmp/today)
exten => 86329,8,Wait(1)
exten => 86329,9,Hangup

Then issue the following commands from the command prompt after logging in as root:

cd /root
mkdir today
cd today
wget http://bestof.nerdvittles.com/applications/today/today.zip
unzip today.zip
rm -f today.zip
cp nv-today.php /var/lib/asterisk/agi-bin/nv-today.php
chmod 775 /var/lib/asterisk/agi-bin/nv-today.php
chown asterisk:asterisk /var/lib/asterisk/agi-bin/nv-today.php
asterisk -rx "dialplan reload"

Running the Application. Now you're ready for a test run. Pick up any phone connected to your Asterisk system and dial T-O-D-A-Y. After a brief pause to download the data, today's events in history and today's birthdays will be played back over your phone using your favorite text to speech voice. To eliminate the pause the first time the application is run each day, simply add the crontab entry as outlined above. Enjoy!



Free DIDs While They Last. Sipgate is giving away a free U.S. DID with free incoming calls plus 200 free minutes for outbound calls. Better hurry. Here's the trunk setup for FreePBX-based systems:

Trunk name: sipgate

type=peer
username=ACCTNO
fromuser=ACCTNO
secret=ACCTPW
context=from-trunk
host=sipgate.com
fromdomain=sipgate.com
insecure=very
caninvite=no
canreinvite=no
nat=no
disallow=all
allow=ulaw&alaw

Registration Strong: ACCTNO:ACCTPW@sipgate.com/YOUR-DID-NUMBER

ACCTNO is the account number assigned to your sipgate account. ACCTPW is the password for your account. YOUR-DID-NUMBER is your 10-digit DID.

Finally create an inbound route using your actual 10-digit DID and assign a destination for the inbound calls.



Need help with Asterisk? Visit the PBX in a Flash Forum.
Or Try the New, Free PBX in a Flash Conference Bridge.


Twitter Magic. If you haven't noticed the right margin of Nerd Vittles lately, we've added a new link to our Twitter feed. If you explore a little, you'll discover that the user interface now brings you instant access to every Twitter feed from the convenience of the Nerd Vittles desktop. Enjoy!


whos.amung.us If you're wondering what your fellow man is reading on Nerd Vittles these days, wonder no more. Visit our new whos.amung.us statistical web site and check out what's happening. It's a terrific resource both for us and for you.


 
New Vitelity Special. Vitelity has generously offered a new discount for PBX in a Flash users. You now can get an almost half-price DID and 60 free minutes from our special Vitelity sign-up link. If you're seeking the best flexibility in choosing an area code and phone number plus the lowest entry level pricing plus high quality calls, then Vitelity is the hands-down winner. Vitelity provides Tier A DID inbound service in over 3,000 rate centers throughout the US and Canada. And, when you use our special link to sign up, the Nerd Vittles and PBX in a Flash projects get a few shekels down the road while you get an incredible signup deal as well. The going rate for Vitelity's DID service is $7.95 a month which includes up to 4,000 incoming minutes on two simultaneous channels with terminations priced at 1.45¢ per minute. Not any more! For PBX in a Flash users, here's a deal you can't (and shouldn't) refuse! Sign up now, and you can purchase a Tier A DID with unlimited incoming calls for just $3.99 a month and you get a free hour of outbound calling to test out their call quality. To check availability of local numbers and tiers of service from Vitelity, click here. Do not use this link to order your DIDs, or you won't get the special pricing! After the free hour of outbound calling, Vitelity's rate is just 1.44¢ per minute for outbound calls in the U.S. There is a $35 prepay when you sign up. This covers future usage and any balance is fully refundable if you decide to discontinue service with Vitelity.
 


Some Recent Nerd Vittles Articles of Interest...

A Baker’s Dozen Asterisk Nuggets from the Forums

Whether you’re new to the Open Source VoIP Community or an old-timer, we wonder how many folks actually miss many of the terrific Asterisk® applications that are hidden in message threads on the various Asterisk forums around the globe. In honor of St. Patty’s Day, today we want to take a stroll through the PBX in a Flash forum just to demonstrate what you may be missing by not visiting the forums or subscribing to some of the better syndication feeds.

Skype Gateway to Asterisk. If you read our recent column on integrating a Skype gateway into your Asterisk server, good for you. But, if you missed the forum dialog which followed release of the article, you missed all sorts of enhancements and system integration tips which made the Skype gateway a much better fit on many systems.

CallerID Superfecta. One of the most perplexing issues facing those that implement VoIP telephony solutions is wrestling with CallerID issues which flow from the ongoing Baby Bell phonebook monopoly. Many of you may have tried our CallerID Superfecta application which provides CallerID lookups for FreePBX-based systems using AsteriDex, Google Phonebook, AnyWho, and WhitePages. But, if you’d explored the forum additions to CallerID Superfecta, you would have uncovered an incredibly slick FreePBX installer as well as support for WhoCalled.us and Telcodata plus SugarCRM as well as numerous fixes for syntax changes on the various lookup sources.

Faxing with Asterisk. Other than CalleriD, there’s probably no issue that generates more consternation in the Asterisk community than fax integration. We reintroduced nvfax for Asterisk 1.4 recently. But, if you’d been following the forums, you’d also know that HylaFax and AvantFax now can be easily integrated into PBX in a Flash thanks to the work of Joe Roper and Tony Shiffer.

A2Billing for Asterisk. Another application that’s been difficult to get working with Asterisk has been A2Billing, a sophisticated calling card and PBX billing system. There really never has been a clear, concise cookbook for getting the software installed and properly configured. Once again, thanks to Joe and Tony, this forum thread provides a step-by-step tutorial for getting every facet of A2Billing installed and properly configured.

Asterisk Stickies. This is another promising Asterisk web application for PBX in a Flash that pops up stickies when incoming calls are received. You then can add the contact to your phonebook and also generate the XML code to update the phone directory on Grandstream and Cisco phone sets. It also supports click-to-dial from the web interface. You can keep up with the progress of this developing application in this very active message thread.

Text-to-Speech FreePBX Module. Just today a new TTS module for FreePBX was introduced which lets you generate TTS announcements for use with any FreePBX-based Asterisk system.

Overhead Paging with Asterisk 1.4. Most workplaces need some sort of overhead paging system. With the tips in this thread and any Asterisk 1.4 server, it’s incredibly easy to implement.

Streaming Music on Hold. We introduced streaming audio for Asterisk over three years ago in the Asterisk 1.2 days. A new message thread has updated that technology to support Internet radio using any Asterisk 1.4 server.

Email Alerts on Trunk Failures. For those that rely upon Asterisk systems to do real work, it’s essential to know when access to your carrier has failed so that you can make adjustments to your outbound and inbound trunks. This thread provides a simple tutorial and script to get you started.

Outbound Emails with Asterisk and SendMail. Another one of our Top 5 most perplexing problems with Asterisk is getting an outbound email capability with SendMail working reliably. Part of this is the configuration hassles with SendMail. But service providers such as Comcast have made matters worse by blocking outbound access to port 25 on most non-business accounts. Here’s a message thread that will walk you through configuring SendMail to use Gmail as your outbound SMTP relay host, and you’ll never have an email problem again on your Asterisk server.

Voicemail Notification. Unified messaging may be everyone’s dream but the reality is that it would be nice to be called on your cellphone when a new voicemail arrived at your office. The Voicemail Notification System does just that. And this thread integrates the original design into a FreePBX module.

Configuration Editor for FreePBX. FreePBX stores much of its magic in Asterisk config files. At least in PBX in a Flash, we hide some of these files to protect the integrity of your system. In addition, changes made to some of these files will get overwritten the next time FreePBX is started since it populates a lot of the information in these config files from data stored in MySQL tables. For those that want to learn more about the FreePBX, there now is a configuration file editor which will let you view and edit any FreePBX config file on your system. You’ll find a complete tutorial in the forums.

Hotel-Style Wakeup Calls. A few weeks ago we covered Tony Shiffer’s new add-on module for FreePBX that provides hotel-style wakeup calls for Asterisk systems. This code actually had been available in the forum for several months and is yet another reason to frequently check the new message threads.

Mac OS X Scripting Package. Since publication, a new link to a Treasure Trove of Goodies for Mac OS X has been posted including a link to the new Mac OS X Scripting Package and Asterisk binaries for Mac OS X from Sven Slezak at Mezzo.

Syndication Syntax. Many forums provide a syndication feed link, but many do not. For vBulletin-based forums, the basic syntax for an RSS feed looks like this:

http://fqdn.com/forum/external.php

You can refine the type of feed you want by specifying the type: RSS, RSS2, ATOM, or XML. For example, to pull down a feed from the PBX in a Flash forum, here’s the syntax for the various formats that are supported:

http://pbxinaflash.com/forum/external.php?type=RSS

http://pbxinaflash.com/forum/external.php?type=RSS2

http://pbxinaflash.com/forum/external.php?type=ATOM

http://pbxinaflash.com/forum/external.php?type=XML

You can further refine the feed by narrowing it down to a particular forum of interest. For example, to retrieve the latest threads from the PBX in a Flash Open Discussion forum, the syntax looks like this:

http://pbxinaflash.com/forum/external.php?type=RSS2&forumids=2

Finally, here’s the list of forum ID numbers for the PBX in a Flash forum:

2 – Open Discussion
3 – Help
4 – Endpoints
5 – Trunks
6 – Providers
7 – Wish List
9 – Bug Reporting & Fixes
10 – Add-On Install Instructions

Something We Missed? There are hundreds of additional Asterisk apps hiding in the woodwork. Please share your discoveries by posting a comment and link below. Enjoy!


Want a Bootable PBX in a Flash Drive? Our Atomic Flash bootable USB flash installer for PBX in a Flash has been quite the hit. Special thanks to all of our generous contributors! Atomic Flash provides all of the goodies in the VPN in a Flash system featured last month on Nerd Vittles. You can build a complete turnkey system using almost any current generation PC with a SATA drive and this USB flash installer in less than 15 minutes!

If you’d like to put your name in the hat for a chance to win a free one delivered to your door, just post a comment with your best PBX in a Flash story.1

Be sure to include your real email address which will not be posted. The winner will be chosen by drawing an email address out of a hat (the old fashioned way!) from all of the comments posted over the next several weeks.

And it still isn’t too late to make a contribution of $50 or more to the PBX in a Flash project and get a free Atomic Flash installer delivered to your door as our special thank you gift. See this Nerd Vittles article for details.


New Fonica Special. If you want to communicate with the rest of the telephones in the world, then you’ll need a way to route outbound calls (terminations) to their destination. For outbound calling, we recommend you establish accounts with several providers. We’ve included two of the very best! These include Joe Roper’s new service for PBX in a Flash as well as our old favorite, Vitelity. To get started with the Fonica service, just visit the web site and register. You can choose penny a minute service in the U.S. Or premium service is available for a bit more. Try both. You’ve got nothing to lose! In addition, Fonica offers some of the best international calling rates in the world. And Joe Roper has almost a decade of experience configuring and managing these services. So we have little doubt that you’ll love the service AND the support. To sign up in the USA and be charged in U.S. Dollars, sign up here. To sign up for the European Service and be charged in Euros, sign up here. See the Fonica image which tells you everything you need to know about this terrific new offering. In addition to being first rate service, Fonica is one of the least expensive and most reliable providers on the planet.
 
New Vitelity Special. Vitelity has generously offered a new discount for PBX in a Flash users. You now can get an almost half-price DID and 60 free minutes from our special Vitelity sign-up link. If you’re seeking the best flexibility in choosing an area code and phone number plus the lowest entry level pricing plus high quality calls, then Vitelity is the hands-down winner. Vitelity provides Tier A DID inbound service in over 3,000 rate centers throughout the US and Canada. And, when you use our special link to sign up, the Nerd Vittles and PBX in a Flash projects get a few shekels down the road while you get an incredible signup deal as well. The going rate for Vitelity’s DID service is $7.95 a month which includes up to 4,000 incoming minutes on two simultaneous channels with terminations priced at 1.45¢ per minute. Not any more! For PBX in a Flash users, here’s a deal you can’t (and shouldn’t) refuse! Sign up now, and you can purchase a Tier A DID with unlimited incoming calls for just $3.99 a month and you get a free hour of outbound calling to test out their call quality. To check availability of local numbers and tiers of service from Vitelity, click here. Do not use this link to order your DIDs, or you won’t get the special pricing! After the free hour of outbound calling, Vitelity’s rate is just 1.44¢ per minute for outbound calls in the U.S. There is a $35 prepay when you sign up. This covers future usage and any balance is fully refundable if you decide to discontinue service with Vitelity.
 


Some Recent Nerd Vittles Articles of Interest…

  1. This offer does not extend to those in jurisdictions in which our offer or your participation may be regulated or prohibited by statute or regulation. []

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